Song of Songs Barry D. Truax

The work is based on the celebrated Song of Solomon text from the Old Testament whose lyrical and sensual imagery is portrayed in a cycle of four movements subtitled Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night & Daybreak. The soundscape of the work is derived from recordings of the text by Norbert Ruebsaat & Thecla Schiphorst, as well as recordings of a monk singing with the monastery bells at SS. Annunziata, near Amelia, Italy, along with cicadas and crickets recorded there by the composer. These sounds are supplemented by recordings of the Dawn Chorus in Brittany made by the World Soundscape Project at Simon Fraser University, and digital recordings made by Robert MacNevin of a stream and a crackling fire. All of the sonic material is subject to digital signal processing which stretches and harmonizes the sounds and brings out their inner voices and colours. The result is a Mediterranean soundscape in which all voices are singing, and the boundaries between the self and the environment are blurred — the voice becomes the environment and the environment sings with its own voice, with a refrain of “I am my Beloveds and my Beloved is mine” that is accompanied by the traditional Hebrew cantillation melody associated with Solomon’s text. Song of Songs was commissioned by Lawrence Cherney for Soundstreams, Toronto.

  • Year of composition: 1992
  • Format: Mixed work
  • Instrumentation: oboe d’amore, English horn, 2 digital soundtracks and computer graphic images by Theo Goldberg
  • Software used: PODX system for sound synthesis and composition
  • Duration of the submitted work: 19:00
  • Publisher: Cambridge Street Publishing
  • Premiere: February 25, 1993, Vancouver, SFU Computer Music concert
  • Disc publication: Song of Songs is available on the Cambridge Street Records CD Song of Songs, CSR-CD 9401, and as a video on CSR-DVD 1301, performed by Lawrence Cherney

3. Evening

Evening is the third movement of Song of Songs which is based on texts from the Song of Solomon. Readings of these texts by Norbert Ruebsaat and Thecla Schiphorst are heard along with the voice of a monk from SS. Annunziata, a monastery in Amelia, Italy, plus recordings of a crackling fire made by Robert MacNevin for the World Soundscape Project tape collection. All sounds are processed with techniques of granulation to stretch and harmonize them such that their lyrical content is brought out. The full performance version of the work will include Lawrence Cherney playing English horn and oboe d’amore and computer graphic images by Theo Goldberg.

  • Duration of the submitted work: 3:04

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